1. A striking façade
Originally built in 1889 as a gentlemen’s club, the majestic Franco-Flemish-style building features an ornate exterior of red brick and stone adorned with Ionic columns and topped with turrets. Step into the entrance hall and you’ll be greeted by a marble staircase and a bespoke glass chandelier crafted by Czech lighting brand Lasvit. Befitting its resplendent décor is its Knightsbridge location: verdant Hyde Park is right on its doorstep, while luxury department stores Harrods and Harvey Nichols are just across the road.
2. Fit for royalty
The hotel has hosted a slew of notable guests over the decades, including Winston Churchill and Morgan Freeman. During World War I, it opened its doors to soldiers on leave, with its ballroom reconfigured as a dormitory. It was also in this ballroom that Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret first learned to dance, with teacher Betty Vacani instructing them to “hold their darling little heads up”. More recently, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hosted a pre-wedding gala dinner there.
3. Classic elegance
The 181 light-filled rooms and suites have been reimagined by award-winning Hong Kong designer Joyce Wang, with elements that reference Hyde Park: think leaf-patterned carpets and quirky animal-themed objets d’art. However, an air of classic elegance still prevails, with sophisticated touches including leather-top desks and marble bathrooms. Opt for one of the expansive suites, each housing a library curated by Mayfair bookseller Heywood Hill.
4. Gourmet dining options
The headline act is undoubtedly two-Michelin-starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, where the eponymous chef serves up historically inspired British fare such as spiced pigeon and lamb and cucumber. There’s also Bar Boulud, a stylish bistro dishing out rustic French plates alongside chef Daniel Boulud’s famed American-style burgers. The sleek Mandarin Bar shakes up creative cocktails such as the Swan (with unusual ingredients including mirin and curry leaves), while plush tearoom The Rosebery serves a decadent afternoon tea.
5. A haven for wellness
The Mandarin Oriental brand is renowned for its wellness offerings, so cosset yourself in the hotel’s spa, which features myriad treatments ranging from traditional tuina (an ancient Chinese massage therapy) to high-tech anti-ageing facials. With other amenities such as a top-notch fitness centre, a stainless-steel indoor pool and a Pilates studio, you’re sure to leave the hotel feeling better than when you first arrived.
Singapore Airlines flies direct to London four times daily. To book a flight, visit singaporeair.com
SEE ALSO: Review: 11 Cadogan Gardens, London
This article was originally published in the October 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine